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The most useful poisons

The most useful poisons

There are many substances that are considered poisons. Today poison saves lives, the most useful such substances will be discussed below.

Warfarin. This anticoagulant was originally a pesticide used against mice and rats. Even today, warfarin is often used as such. And this is despite the fact that many other and more effective means of combating rodents have already been invented. But a few years after the application of this poison, it suddenly turned out that it is also an effective and safe means of preventing the appearance of thrombosis and embolism. Since the middle of the last century, warfarin began to be used as a medicine, and remains popular as such to this day. However, such an effective remedy still has some disadvantages. It turns out that other popular medications interact with warfarin, as do some foods. That is why the activity of this poison must be constantly checked by performing blood tests.

Poison of the cone snail. These predatory creatures are medium to large sized sea snails. They hunt their prey, depriving it of the ability to move with the help of poison secreted by special glands from modified teeth. By biting the victim, the snails inject neurotoxins into its body. That is why it is necessary to touch such creatures very carefully, and it is better to refuse direct contact altogether. After all, touching snails can become painful. Although in most cases a cone snail bite is no worse than a bee sting, larger individuals can even cripple a person, and sometimes even kill him. Scientists have found that the venom of some of these creatures, such as the mage cone, is an excellent pain reliever. In this case, the addictive effect does not occur. As a result, the poison can replace morphine, which is a thousand times more effective. The pain reliever ziconotide is isolated from the toxins of the cone. Other components of the poison are being tested as a means of combating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and epilepsy.

Aconite poison. Poisonous can be not only ground parts of plants, but also underground. The roots of the aconite flower (Aconitum ferox) in Nepal are used to make a deadly substance called bish or nabi. It contains many poisonous pseudoconitines. In Western medicine, until the middle of the last century, medicines made from aconite were used. Today more efficient and modern analogues have taken their place. Although less common, drugs based on aconite poison are still used. They are used to treat colds, pneumonia, asthma, croup, laryngitis and sore throat. Taking the medicine internally allows you to normalize blood circulation, nervous system and breathing. Aconite poison slows down the pulse, and the number of heartbeats drops due to certain doses up to 30-40 beats per minute. It is curious that earlier the flowers of this plant were used to identify werewolves. It was believed that if a plant leaves a suspicious yellow shadow on a person's chin, then this spoke of an evil spirit inside.

Foxglove venom. Digitalis can contain fatal and steroidal glycosides, depending on the species. It is no coincidence that poisons have given some plant species the rather frightening nicknames Witch's Gloves and Dead Man's Bells. Foxglove has not only poisonous roots, but also seeds, and especially the upper leaves. It is enough to eat one of them to die. But on the basis of the poison, the drug digitalin is made, which allows you to increase cardiac contractility. Such a tool allows you to control the heart rate, which is important in case of abnormal atrial fabrication. Digitalin is often prescribed for people with heart disease.

Poison of the mocassin muzzle. A snake with this name is a dangerous predator that waits for suitable prey in ambush. The shitomordnik avoids a person and will not attack people first, if it is not touched. However, unlike other snakes, this one does not at all try to flee. The muzzle stays in its place, which is fraught with a bite from a person stepping on a dangerous creature. A lethal dose is as much as 100 grams of poison. At the same time, he is considered the weakest of the venoms of other rattlesnakes, inferior in strength even to the capabilities of a close relative, the water snake. Interestingly, the mocassin snake has a so-called warning bite. If stepped on, they can release very little or no poison at all. Beneficial in this snake's venom is that it contains the protein Contortrostatin. It helps stop the growth of cancer cells and also prevents the tumor from spreading to other parts of the body. And although such a protein has not yet been officially recognized as a drug in oncology, it continues to be actively studied in laboratories.

Hemlock venom. This poison is one of the most famous in the world. Among the alkaloids of this agent, the most toxic and most important is the coniin. Its structure is very similar to nicotine. This neurotoxin disrupts the functioning of the central nervous system; it is very dangerous not only for animals, but also for humans. Coniine can even lead to death by blocking neuromuscular junctions, similar to the action of curare venom. This leads to paralysis of the muscles, in particular the respiratory muscles, which is fraught with death due to a lack of oxygen in the brain and heart. An accident can still be prevented if artificial ventilation of the lungs is started. In this case, it is necessary to do it over the next 48-72 hours after the bite, until the effect of the poison stops. Injection of such a substance in any quantity will cause serious respiratory distress and subsequent death. A lethal outcome is also possible if a person simply swallows 6-8 fresh leaves of a plant, or some seeds, a crushed root. However, despite the hemlock's notoriety, the poisonous plant can be used as an antispasmodic and sedative. This medicine has been known since the days of Greek and Persian healers, who used it for various diseases, including arthritis.

Belladonna venom. From belladonna, dope, mandrake and other plants of the Solanaceae family, such a poisonous substance as atropine is obtained. It is used in injections to treat bradycardia (slow heart rate), asystole, and other heart conditions. Atropine is prescribed for many diseases, belladonna venom is used even to combat increased sweating.

Yellow scorpion venom. The venom of this dangerous arachnid can be useful in the fight against cancer. A group of researchers at the Transmolecular Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts was able to isolate protein from substances secreted by the Israeli yellow scorpion. It can find and communicate with glioma cells, brain cancer. But this serious disease is especially difficult to treat. Scientists were able to create a poison of artificial origin of their protein, combining it with radioactive iodine. When such a protein is injected into the blood, it finds the affected cells, binds to them and brings a solution of radioactive iodine. This leads to the destruction of cancer cells, and if properly treated, the disease can completely recede.

Chilean pink tarantula venom. Biophysicists at the University of Buffalo have learned to use the poison of the Chilean pink tarantula. Proteins have been identified in this dangerous spider substance that help prevent death from heart attacks. The fact is that the cell walls have small channels that open when the cells are stretched. These passages are responsible for the contraction of the heart muscles. If the channels open too wide, then this makes it possible for positive ions to penetrate into the cells. They interfere with the work of electrical signals in the heart, resulting in fibrillation. Such a strong vibration prevents the heart muscles from working in concert. And the spider venom affects these channels, preventing positive ions from entering the cells. Thus, the risk of fibrillation becomes much less, and the patient can be injected with this poison during an attack, which will save him from death.

Ergot mushroom poison. It has long been known to man that the ergot fungus can infect rye, and the poison can enter the human body along with the used grains. This poisoning is called ergotism and is accompanied by hallucinations and behavioral disturbances. The person begins to convulse, which in the end may even end in death. Other symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, nausea, uterine contraction and loss of consciousness. In the Middle Ages, certain doses of ergot caused a miscarriage of the fetus, and also stopped bleeding during childbirth. Now such alkaloids are used in the drug cafergot, which, in addition to ergotamine, also includes caffeine and ergoline. This medicine helps to cope with headaches and migraines. Also, the poison is useful in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Ergotism is even accused of the fact that thanks to it in Europe in the 16th century, a strange disease "Dancing Mania" appeared, but this is little confirmed.


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