What Is Cicuta And How Is It Dangerous

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What Is Cicuta And How Is It Dangerous
What Is Cicuta And How Is It Dangerous

Video: What Is Cicuta And How Is It Dangerous

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Among the many dangerous plants, cicuta stands out - its poison was used in ancient times, it was with it, according to legend, that Socrates was poisoned. Today, cicuta is considered one of the most poisonous plants in the world. It is also widespread in Russia. Therefore, for the sake of safety, all people need to know what cicuta is and how dangerous it is.

What is cicuta and how is it dangerous
What is cicuta and how is it dangerous

What is cicuta

Cicuta is a perennial plant of the umbrella family, growing, most often, near water bodies. The second scientific name for hemlock is poisonous milestone. In Russia, this dangerous plant is especially common in Altai, but it can be found both in the central part and in the southern regions.

In the old days in Russia, hemlock was called cat parsley, because outwardly, its carved leaves resemble parsley, and the smell of the plant is similar to that of celery. In spring, cicuta grows very quickly and gains strength, attracting people and herbivores, who mistake it for an edible herb. It is easy to pull the cicuta out of the soil; a yellowish sap appears on the surface of the cuttings of the root and stem of the plant. The poisonous milestone blooms in the second half of summer - in July-August. Its white inflorescences are very similar to parsley umbrellas and have a specific smell.

Why is cicuta dangerous?

In hemlock, all parts of the plant are dangerous, but especially the rhizome. Only a few eaten plants are capable of killing large animals such as horses and cows. A lethal dose is one gram of a plant per kilogram of human or animal weight. For a person, this is about 6-8 leaves. Tsikuta is especially dangerous in spring - during this period the plant contains the greatest amount of poison.

Hemlock poison - cytotoxin, belongs to the group of neurotoxins that affect the central nervous system. The action of the poison begins very quickly - a few minutes after it enters the body. The person begins to vomit violently, abdominal pain, dizziness, and seizures. If the dose of cytotoxin is fatal, "ascending muscle paralysis" occurs - the paralysis gradually spreads throughout the body and reaches the heart and respiratory system, resulting in rapid death.

Medical help for hemlock poisoning consists in cleansing the stomach and intestines and supportive therapy, including the administration of anticonvulsants. However, very often, medical care is ineffective or delayed.

In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, hemlock poison was considered state - with its help, the death penalty was carried out. But in folk medicine, poisonous landmarks were almost never used. The ancient Egyptians added hemlock juice to an ointment to enlarge the mammary glands. In microscopic doses, cicuta has a sedative effect, reduces blood pressure and physical activity. She has also been treated for cancer, skin diseases, helminthic infestations, and epilepsy. Naturally, self-medication with hemlock is life-threatening!

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