By John Buckingham
Inspired by way of the medicinal good fortune of quinine, early nineteenth century scientists was hoping strychnine, one other plant alkaloid with outstanding homes, may additionally turn into a brand new weapon opposed to illness. Physicians attempted for over a century, regardless of transforming into proof on the contrary, to regard every little thing from paralysis to constipation with it. yet strychnine proved simply to be disappointingly deadly-relegating its destiny virtually totally to animal regulate, the harmful adulteration of meals, and legal exploits. The infamous and precise tale of the way a toxic alkaloid...Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate historical past of Strychnine offers a scholarly and compelling background of this attention-grabbing chemical substance from its discovery to give occasions. A well known editor for the Dictionary of average items, Dr. John Buckingham fuses his eclectic pursuits into a rare mixture of unique study spanning the geographical regions of background, medication, literature, chemistry, and forensics....Changed the process HISTORY!Uncovering information and logistics from the earliest experiments played in an period whilst right clinical trials for checking out new medicines have been nonetheless of their infancy, the writer explores strychnine's trial-and-error contributions to clinical, scientific, and forensic advancements. He additionally investigates old milestones and the belief of strychnine in renowned culture-including felony notoriety, unintentional misuse, and new claims of strychnine's advantages that stretch via to the current day. Juxtaposing the true trials, mistrials, and chronic interest linked to one in every of history's such a lot infamous pharmaceutical mess ups, sour Nemesis deals infrequent perception into the anarchic, but encouraged panorama, practices, and legacy of nineteenth century technological know-how.
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Additional info for Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate History of Strychnine
For this he mostly employed Jews such as Isaac of Salerno, who would translate them into Hebrew first and then into Latin. 2 This led on to the writing of smaller condensed works, which were easier for monks to copy, carry about and consult. By the thirteenth century knowledge of the vomiting nuts, or Nucis vomicae, reached England in the Antidotarum of an author calling himself Nicolaus of Salerno or Nicolaus Praepositus, 3 writing between 1200 and 1250. 4 The origin of the nuts was certainly known to the Arabs, for at some point the trees from which they came were imported to the Middle East and cultivated.
A correspondent to The Times some 300 years later, “Philo Veritas,” related that in Mexico, it was commonplace to dispose of wolves and buzzards by feeding nux vomica to an old worn-out mule and leaving the carcass to be eaten. Not only would the wolves die, but also the buzzards that fed on their carcasses. 16 These effects would have been due to unabsorbed poison still in the intestines of the dead creature; the flesh of a poisoned fowl did not kill a dog that ate it, only the innards. This in itself was a mystery.
A contributory factor was the scientific climate in early nineteenthcentury France. Despite the equivocal nature of most of his results, by the time that Fouquier published the full account of his trials, other French doctors, anxious not to miss out on the excitement generated by the new drug, had already begun to experiment on their own patients. Some of them were also quick to try to steal the credit of Fouquier’s discovery. Many jumped on the bandwagon, and by 1820 it had begun to roll, rather fast.