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From the article: "Its structure was determined by Sir Robert Robinson and Herman Leuchs in 1946." - the latter died in 1945. Removed the year. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chymæra (talkcontribs) 05:48, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Wives of Vincent van Gogh?[edit]

The "Notable strychnine poisonings" listed Margot Begemann as one of the wives of Vincent van Gogh. He was never married. I removed this total inaccuracy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:30, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Use as a stimulant[edit]

Someone should add information about the stimulant properties of Strychnine.

1 year later[edit]

UPDATE: (1 YEAR LATER) This paragraph was inserted by one who has experienced STRYCHNINE INGESTION first hand and donated the previous sentence almost a year ago. My ingestion of 1/8 teaspoon of the chemical (approximately 50 years old, and coloured purple), orally with water brought on severe muscle contractions, coming in waves, within 5 to 10 minutes. At this stage, i called the "medical emergency" no. and was advised to admit to hospital. I drove 7km to the hospital in a state of extreme alertness, with no pain but increasing rigidity/agitation and anxiety. I alighted from the vehicle, and my body, after about 20 minutes had elapsed since ingestion, was almost totally rigid. My legs and arms would not bend,and to i imagine my gait to be that of a robot as i made my way into the hospital. As i lay there for the next 5 hours, suffering these great muscle seizures, the nurses complained of a terrible decomposition smell emenating from my body. The hospital staff administered charcoal and advised me that respiratory collapse could be immenent. VALIUM was given intravenously, at intervals, which almost immediately stopped the contractions. The after affects of the chemical seem to be continued wasting if the major muscles, as experienced in long distance runners who push themselves overly, whilst dehydrated. Regards Brendan.

This was posted in the article. It is original research. JFW | T@lk 08:19, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

THe last link after the article "fact sheet on strychnine" is dead. Could someone update this?

^^^^ ^------ - lol - "Dead.". Isn't that what you would expect??? lolz (sorry, I absolutely couldn't resist.). (talk) 05:26, 2 June 2010 (UTC)


I don't understand how this helped him run faster. Only negative aspects are covered in the article. Could someone in the know elaborate on this.

Muscles are capable of exerting much more force than the brain normally allows them to, probably as a protective mechanism against damage to muscles and tendons. Greater than normal force is seen when people "jump" a long way as a result of electric shock, and presumably strychnine poisoning can have a similar effect. I do not know much about this and am just speculating, but maybe a low dose caused very mild spasms which allowed his muscles to do something like this? The whisky might have prevented more serious uncontrollable spasms, as according to the article, depressants are one method of treating strychnine poisoning. (I do not recommend that anyone tries this). 16:56, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

This line is ambigious: "This was Wu Dan and she was actually the first person to test positive for drugs at the Olympics." I'm sure they meant at the Barcelona Olympics, rather than "at the Olympics". If not, please indicate why this was the first, since Ben Johnson preceeds this, and was not the first even then. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:33, 5 August 2012 (UTC)


While strychnine kills dogs, it kills plenty of other creatures too. Why is this in category Dogs but not in category Poisons?? Knowledge of strychnine isn't required to own a dog-- it just helps to know that it's poisonous to them. Next thing you know, aspirin is going to be under the cats category. 09:00, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. --Eyrian 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
While I agree that this article needs to be in the category of poisons, I'm not sure that it is inappropriate to have it in the category of dog health. Dogs are the most common domestic animal to be poisoned by strychnine, and therefore it is somewhat related to the topic of dog health. However, it seems unlikely that anyone would search for it there, so I won't put it back in. --Joelmills 03:08, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't disagree with the role in dog health, but I figure there's either a Dog Health page with links to here, or a reader concerned that their dog has been poinsoned by strychnine would come directly here. I certainly don't advocate taking out the dog health info that's within the article-- we've added dog and cat health to the aspirin page too. My beef was only with the categories on the page bottom... not sure about Wikidogs tag either, but it's harmless. 14:24, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Antidote to strychnine[edit]

Please note error in text.

Dantrolene although it does have muscle relaxant properties, is not classified in pharmacology as a muscle relaxant, and is certainly NOT a specific antidote. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:21, 6 April 2007 (UTC).

Be bold and change it yourself - this is a wiki...  :-) If somehow possible, please provide reliable referencesfor your edits. Cacycle 02:05, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

How does it work?[edit]

Could someone help provide a scientific explanation? cyclosarin 03:40, 8 May 2007 (UTC)


I am not going to start a revert war regarding the Trivia tag, but I think it is inappropriate in this article. Few Wikipedia editors are skilled enough to integrate those bits of information into the main text in a sensible way. If you think it should be done, go ahead and do it, but it is not a good idea to ask any passer by to integrate it, as not everyone has the ability to express it in a structured and readable way that does not distort the flow of the main article. Mlewan 17:24, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Few people are skilled enough to integrate bullet points into prose? I hope not. It seems to me to be a matter of working up the necessary effort, which a small annoyance tends to do. And it doesn't disrupt the flow of the article any more than a bulleted series of unrelated points does. --Eyrian 19:14, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I went ahead and took care of it. It did take some effort, but that was to supply the missing references. --Joelmills 19:59, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Excellent work. --Eyrian 23:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me for saying so, but that was an awful edit. If I come here to read about Strychnine, I want the main text to be about the poison and not garage rock bands. The main text got clumsy, unstructured and filled up with irrelevant data for the poison itself. Besides it suddenly got virtually impossible to search for cases where strychnine has been used, if that is what I am looking for. Mlewan 05:05, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You're more than welcome to put it back the way it was, if you like. On second thought, I'll do it for you, and you can construct it to your preferences. --Joelmills 01:55, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I just added back the references you had researched before. It would be a pity to lose them. Mlewan 04:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

strychnine in drugs[edit]

I don't remember well but I thought strychnine used to be used in some recipes for making heroin, in the first half (??) of the 20th century. IIRC I read this in the book "Heroin Century", which was published within the last decade. Peoplesunionpro (talk) 06:24, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Strychnine is still used in drugs, i.e. cardiamid coffein manufactured in Poland by Polfa Pabianice. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Confirmed: a tonic containing nicotinamide, caffeine and strychnine.[1] Gordonofcartoon (talk) 11:46, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
It actually contains nikethamide, not nicotinamide. Regards, -- (talk) 21:06, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Thx - not knowing Polish, I misread "niketamid" to be "nicotinamide". Gordonofcartoon (talk) 22:22, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Strychnine in Religious services[edit]

There is an group of holiness pentecostal churches in appalachia that use strychnine as part of their worship service. They interpret Mark 16:18 literally when it says, "when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:57, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Verified: [2]. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 20:49, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


Any views on the recent splitting of Strychnine and Strychnine poisoning? I'd have thought the poisoning and pharamcology are intimately connected. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 22:17, 1 May 2008 (UTC)


The dose of LSD is so small that it could not be mixed with a toxic amount of strychnine, even if strychnine made up an entire blotter square.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= Strychnine in LSD? |publisher= [[Erowid]]}}</ref>

While the argument makes sense, I notice the citation [3] comes from a newsgroup posting. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 03:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Structural Analogue to Caffeine[edit]

The article cites a paper describing Strychnine as a structural analogue to caffeine, and I do not believe this to be the case. Caffeine is achiral, planar, aromatic and a weak base with a molecular mass of about 194. Strychnine is chiral, three dimensional with complex structure, contains only a small aromatic fragment and as a tertiary amine is likely strongly lewis basic. At the functional group level, only the amide is shared. Molecules which share binding sites in proteins are often structural analogues, but this is not necessarily the case. The paper in question discusses a biological computational binding study and does not represent a valid reference for structural similarity. The similarity in function is quite probably linked to shared binding modes, but not to structure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree and have removed the statement. -- Ed (Edgar181) 19:30, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Other (previous) medical uses?[edit]

I recently read a 1921 biography of a man who as a civil war soldier had sustained a gunshot wound near his spine. This veteran had, in 1862, taken "a preparation containing strychnia and thereupon began to recover the use of his limbs" and was soon able to return to the front lines. [Albion W. Tourgee by Roy F. Dibble, available in Google Books] Although this article states that a "1934 drug guide for nurses described [strychnine] as "among the most valuable and widely prescribed drugs", the only listed uses are "as a stimulant, as a laxative, and as a treatment for other stomach ailments". Is the cure described in the book apocryphal, or does it fall under the category of stimulant? Or is there some other therapeutic effect of strychnine that should be described here? (talk) 21:08, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Human ld50[edit]

The human ld50 quoted in the first paragraph of 1mg/kg is a lot smaller than the table lower in the article (100-120mg/kg orally). Both are cited. Which is correct? - (talk) 13:50, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

It appears that the initial statement of 1mg/kg is correct and that the table is wrong. The heading on the table reads LD (mg/kg) but should only read LD as the LD is 1mg/kg. Therefore for a typical male adult the LD orally would be 100mg (1mg/kg in a 100kg/220lbs male) (talk) 04:24, 28 July 2011 (UTC)Steve

I doubt the term "LD50" will be applicable in any of the human cases as most of the data come from accidental exposures and not clinical studies on humans... (Though I havn't read all of the references so I can't be sure, the Nazis did some crazy things so you never know...) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Mechanism section needs to be re-written[edit]

The style and tone is not suited for an encyclopaedia, and the explanation for its mechanism of action is clumsy and confusing (I study pharmacy and I barely made it through; someone with no background wouldn't understand at all). I would do it except I'm in the middle of exams right now. Camus42 (talk) 05:03, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Treatment for Strychnine poisoning....[edit]

Just wanted to clear up that when the article describes the treatment for Strychnine poisoning it states that activated charcoal should be administered to absorb any remanding strychnine this is false. Activated charcoal does not absorb anything it adsorbs molecules. This action is completely different and does not actually render the strychnine molecule inert until it is eliminated from the body. (talk) 04:28, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

OK, I changed "absorb" to "adsorb", with a link to our relevant article at adsorption. -- Ed (Edgar181) 11:28, 28 July 2011 (UTC)


"The toxic and medicinal effects of strychnine have been well known from the times of ancient China and India." but "Strychnine was first discovered by French chemists Joseph Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre-Joseph Pelletier in 1818."

These can't both be true. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 18:45, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I think the first sentence should be tweaked to read, "The toxic and medicinal effects of Strychnos nux-vomica have been well known from the times of ancient China and India" to clarify that the properties of the plant (which derive almost entirely from the presence of strychine) have been known since antiquity, but the chemical compound itself was not identified/characterized until the 19th century. -- Ed (Edgar181) 18:54, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
OK, that makes sense; I made the changes you suggest. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 20:50, 29 August 2012 (UTC)


The intro states that strychnine is "colorless", but according to Mosby's Medical Dictionary (eighth edition) strychnine is a "white crystalline alkaloid". Is Mosby's wrong, Wikipedia wrong, or have I misunderstood (is white not considered a colour?)? Jinjibïar (talk) 00:12, 1 November 2012 (UTC) Calling a compound "white" corresponds to a powder, whereas the term "colourless" corresponds to the solution of the purified compound or the appearance of large crystals or small crystals (powder) under a microscope. Calling a compound "colourless" is generally considered to be the more scientific way of describing a "white" compound, because white is not a colour in the spectroscopic sense. (talk)

Following source is broken link, and is moved here until it can be replaced[edit]

Lead bracket of citation removed so citation will appear:

ref name=bitterdb>"BitterDB - Strychnine". Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved 11 June 2013. </ref>

Following material has possible COPYVIO issue, and is misplaced in the mechanism section[edit]

...and whether it needs a new section, or its inclusion needs to be reconsidered long-term, it is placed here for convenience until decisions can be made. Note, the text appears to be cribbed in large part from the indicated bare-URL (i.e., apparently plagiarised, as it appeared here without quotation marks, and so is a potential COPYVIO issue), and at that URL, the two citations given are to a further bare-URL (paragraph 1), and then to a primary source (paragraph 2). In short, this is an interesting story, though sunstantially immaterial to the title subject (car ride portion), and a possible copyright violation, and minimally needing to have the quoted text specified, but generally not well-enough referenced to stand as it is. Even if it is reinforced, careful thought should be give to its location. (It is not about mechanism of action, and so was misplaced in that section.)

"In low dosages, strychnine can act as a stimulant and has been used by athletes to enhance their performance. Strychnine made headlines back in 1904 during the St. Louis Olympics. At that time there were no rules yet about the use of performance enhancing drugs. The American Fred Lorz won the marathon competition but was disqualified just after crossing the finish line because officials learned he had taken a car ride for part of the race. The next man to finish was the British-born US athlete Thomas Hicks. He won the gold medal but not without a little help. About 10 miles from the finish line Hicks begged his trainers to let him stop running and give-up the race. His trainers refused and gave him a dose of strychnine as a stimulant to keep him going. They also gave him raw egg-white and brandy. As a result Hicks had to be carried across the finish line and it took four doctors to revive him so that he could leave the stadium.

More recently at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, strychnine was used to optimize the athletic performance of Wu Dan, a female volleyball player from China. Dan was the first person to test positive for drugs at the Olympics, testing positive for strychnine despite claiming that she had not ingested any. The strychnine was contained in capsules that Dan was taking without the knowledge of the team doctor. She took the capsule as a tonic because she was feeling a bit tired. The Olympic committee stated that Dan didn’t intentionally cheat.[1][better source needed][bare URL]"

Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 07:56, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

use as chiral resolving agent[edit]

The article Chiral_resolution#Chiral_resolving_agents mentions the related compound Brucine as an example agent, but I believe that Strychnine is also commonly used. What is needed is a cheap and plentiful pure sterioisomer, and one which can be easily coupled to and later removed from the enantiomer pair being resolved. Is it worth mentioning? I guess a reference to a method would be useful. --AJim (talk) 01:55, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

If you have a couple references then it can surely be mentioned.--cyclopiaspeak! 11:55, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Performance enhancer[edit]

This article completely fails to mention that strychnine was a popular performance enhancer/stimulant in the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century. There was a famous case of an olympic runner who died after overdosing, using strychnine as a performance enhancer. Also, in HG Wells' THE INVISIBLE MAN, the anti-hero uses strychnine as a stimulant. 2604:2000:C6A1:B900:DD98:9A71:7701:4800 (talk) 02:28, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

UPDATE: I have added a section on the performance-enhancing properties of strychnine. 2604:2000:C6A1:B900:DD98:9A71:7701:4800 (talk) 02:42, 27 May 2015 (UTC)