Poisonous Plants

Poisonous Plants

Belladonna, one of the deadliest plants in the western hemisphere, is full of toxins. These include atropine and scopolamine; they are anticholinergic and can cause hallucinations, delusions, convulsions and death.

In fact, taking 2 or more of its berries can kill a child, and about 5 are enough to kill an adult.

The main cause of these effects on the parasympathetic nervous system is the tropane alkaloid called atropine.

This substance is a competitive antagonist, a drug that does not provoke a biological response itself, but blocks or reduces the body’s responses, reducing the activation frequency.

In other words, it makes internal autonomous systems of those who consume stop working, causing semi-paralysis, difficult breathing and making heart rate unstable.

The Brugmansia and Datura Ferox are so poisonous that they were historically used in rituals of intoxication and contain a variety of toxic compounds.

As belladonna, both Brugmansia and Datura Ferox contain atropine and scopolamine; however, due to its wide variety of species, they tend to have more negative effects.

In fact, among the subspecies of each of these two plants there can be a variation of concentration of toxic substances which can be up to 5 times higher.

The anticholinergic delirium occurs in all overdoses, while tachycardia, severe mydriasis (excessive dilation of the pupils) and short-term amnesia don’t, but they are also common. In the Datura Ferox, higher levels of toxicity can be found in fruits and seeds.

The hemlock is perhaps the most famous mortal plant which contains one of the deadliest neurotoxins naturally produced: Coniine.

It damages the central nervous system, blocking the neuromuscular junctions. This causes muscle paralysis ascending from foot to chest and it finally causes paralysis of the respiratory system leading to death.

In addition to its danger, coniine is very powerful and it is fatal if consumed in slightly higher than 100 mg doses (which are equivalent to 6 leaves or a little less of their roots or seeds).

Death can only be avoided if the person who consumed is connected to a breathing machine until the effects disappear after 72 hours.

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