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Useful Tropical Plants

Strychnos toxifera

R.H.Schomb. ex Lindl.

Loganiaceae

+ Synonyms

Strychnos syntoxica Sprague & Sandwith

Common Name:

Strychnos toxifera
Fruiting plant, climbing into the surrounding vegetation
Photograph by: Reinaldo Aguilar
Creative Commons License
Strychnos toxifera Strychnos toxifera Strychnos toxifera Strychnos toxifera Strychnos toxifera

General Information

Strychnos toxifera is a vigorous climbing shrub, climbing high into the surrounding trees and supporting itself in the branches by means of tendrils.
Along with Strychnos mitscherlichii, this species is the main source of 'calabash' curare, commonly used in the Amazon as an arrow poison[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. Curare also has a number of uses in modern medicine.

Known Hazards

The bark is a sources of 'Calabash curare', an arrow poison produced in the jungles of the Amazon. Curare has a number of applications in modern medicine[
434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.
].
The bark contains the alkaloid curarine, which paralyses the peripheral nerves so voluntary muscles for respiration cease action and asphyxiation occur[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Guyanas and through Central America to Costa Rica.

Habitat

Montane savannah and creek forests[
422
Title
Fruits of the Guianan Flora
Publication
 
Author
van Roosmalen. M.G.M.
Publisher
Institute of Systematic Boyany, Utrecht University; Netherlands.
Year
1985
ISBN
90-9000988-4
Description
Terse descriptions of over 1,700 species from the Guianas that bear fruits - not necessarily edible! Often mentions if the fruit is edible, plus gives brief description of habit and habitat.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitClimber
Height0.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Not known

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Curare, obtained from the bark of the stems, is a very toxic substance used in the Amazon as an arrow poison. It does also have medicinal applications; as a sedative, anticonvulsive etc. However, the toxic does is very near the pharmacological does and so it has to be used with great care.
Curare is a powerful paralyzing agent of the motor nerves. Its active principle is Curarin[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
]. Toxic doses cause death by paralysis of the organs of respiration[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
].
Curare has been reported effectual in two cases of hydrophobia, and has been successful in the treatment of tetanus[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
].
The bark, applied externally, is said to be a good remedy for foul ulcers[
460
Title
Flora Medica
Publication
 
Author
Lindley J.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans: London
Year
1838
ISBN
 
Description
A massive work - many of the botanical names have changed, but the book is still a wealth of information.
].
The bark is one of the most potent sedatives in nature and, could it be safely managed, would no doubt become a valuable remedial agent in the treatment of convulsive and spasmodic disorders[
460
Title
Flora Medica
Publication
 
Author
Lindley J.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans: London
Year
1838
ISBN
 
Description
A massive work - many of the botanical names have changed, but the book is still a wealth of information.
].

The active alkaloids found in the plant include toxiferines, caracurine, macusine, mavacurine and fedamazine[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The bark contains the alkaloid curarine, which paralyses the peripheral nerves so voluntary muscles for respiration cease action and asphyxiation occur[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Strychnos+toxifera>

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