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Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Sep;42(9):1373-82.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.).

Author information

1
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Botany, Szent István University, 1400 Budapest, Pf. 2. Hungary. jvetter@univet.hu

Abstract

One of the most poisonous species amongst higher plants is Conium maculatum. It is a very common nitrophile weed species, belonging to the Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae) family. It contains some piperidine alkaloids (coniine, N-methyl-coniine, conhydrine, pseudoconhydrine, gamma-coniceine), which are formed by the cyclisation of an eight-carbon chain derived from four acetate units. gamma-Coniceine is the precursor of the other hemlock alkaloids. All vegetative organs, flowers and fruits contain alkaloids. The concentrations (both absolute and relative) of the different alkaloids depend on plant varieties, on ecological conditions and on the age of the plant. The characteristic biological effects of the plants are summarised on cattle, sheep, goat, swine, rabbit, elk, birds and insects and the symptoms of the human toxicosis (some cases of poisonings) are discussed according to the literature data. The general symptoms of hemlock poisoning are effects on nervous system (stimulation followed by paralysis of motor nerve endings and CNS stimulation and later depression), vomiting, trembling, problems in movement, slow and weak later rapid pulse, rapid respiration, salivation, urination, nausea, convulsions, coma and death.

PMID:
15234067
DOI:
10.1016/j.fct.2004.04.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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