The mankind knows that some toxins at intake in the minimum quantities have therapeutic effect from an extreme antiquity. Many substances recognized poisonous are applied in the medical purposes also today, being the main operating components of the medicines which are officially produced by pharmaceutical industry. Let's tell only about the most known of them.
Cones are a genus of predatory sea snails (more than 500 types) living preferential in tropics near barrier reeves. They hunt water worms, small fishes and mollusks, immobilizing the production by means of the poison containing neurotoxins. For the person the sting of a cone is very notable, but, as a rule, is not deadly. However, cases when the swimmers who on imprudence disturbed snails sank because of sharp pain or the paralysis of muscles caused by poison are known.
In the course of studying of toxins of conical snails it was found out that the substances which are their part can remove spasms, calm a nervous system. The drugs produced on their basis are the strongest anesthetics which are not causing accustoming. Today drugs which will facilitate symptoms of diseases of Parkinson and Alzheimer are in process of development, and also will be capable to remove epilepsy attacks.
Monk's-hood (the fighter, a skullcap) – a popular adornment plant which decorated practically each seasonal dacha in Russia for a long time. At the same time not all flower growers knew that all parts of their favourite flowers (especially tubers) contain extremely strong poison.
Skullcap toxin (aconitine) oppresses breath and cordial activity, affects the blood circulatory system. Hunters of some tribes of India and Nepal still use it for treatment of tips of arrows. Similarly applied poison of a skullcap and ancient Germans. In some countries of medieval Europe the person at whom found a monk's-hood tuber was considered as the caught poisoner, and was subject to an execution without court.
Despite so gloomy reputation, monk's-hood it was quite actively used in the medical purposes. In the middle of the last century there was a number of the drugs made using parts of this plant. They were used for treatment of the catarral phenomena arising at cold, quinsy, laryngitis and pneumonia and also for simplification of attacks of asthma. Now these drugs are replaced with safer means, and alkaloids of monk's-hood found other application: on their basis homeopathic dosage forms which are used in complex therapy of oncological diseases are created. For example, at a carcinoma cutaneum tincture of tubers of a skullcap is applied outwardly, and tumors of a large intestine treat by means of the candles or ointments containing aconitine. In certain cases drugs of a skullcap accept inside (certainly, it is very careful also at the most strict observance of a dosage and technology of preparation).
Foxglove (digitalis) – a herbaceous plant with large beautiful flowers, widespread in Asia, North Africa and Europe (in our country 6 of its types meet). All of them are very poisonous: the adult can receive a lethal dose of cardiac glycoside of digitalin, having accidentally eaten only one leaf of a plant.
History of a medical use of a foxglove contains more than 15 centuries (the first authentic data on it belong to the 5th century AD). As heart failure medicine drugs of a digitalis began to use with the middle of the 17th century. The great Russian scientist S. P. Botkin extremely highly appreciated therapeutic influence of such means, but noted that the impossibility of definition of an exact dosage and individual reactions of patients do not allow to apply them rather widely. With development of pharmaceutical industry the first of these shortcomings managed to be minimized, and today drugs of a digitalis are the main medicines helping to save chronic cores.
Mokassinovy (coppery-headed) shchitomordnik – the venomous snake living in North America. The sting it almost never happens deadly, but the animal is considered dangerous because of the aggression.
Rather recently it became known that protein контортростатин, contained in poison of a shchitomordnik, can oppress growth of cancer cells and interfere with formation of metastasises. Pharmaceutical industry did not begin production of drugs on its basis yet: drugs pass a stage of laboratory testing so far.
Hemlock spotty – a plant of family umbrella. Grows in Asia, North Africa and Europe, including in all territory of Russia. Its roots, stalks, leaves flowers and seeds contain a number of alkaloids, the most poisonous of which is coniine. This substance at hit in a digestive tract is very quickly soaked up in blood and blocks work of a nervous system, causing paralysis of motive muscles. In the absence of the urgent help death from suffocation becomes result. In Ancient Greece poisoning with poison of a hemlock was an official way of execution of death sentences.
The plant is dangerous that people can eat its parts by mistake, having mixed a root with horse-radish, leaves – with parsley, and fruits – with an anise. Besides, cases of death of the cattle and poultry when feeding of the crude or dried-up grass are known. Nevertheless, hemlock drugs long since are widely used in traditional medicine and homeopathy. Them disturbances of a menstrual cycle, intestinal and gastric gripes, anemia, headaches, urination delays, dry cough and many other pathologies treat.
The traditional medicine almost does not use drugs of a hemlock of poisoning, spotty because of high probability. However at the end of the last century the Russian scientists patented methods of use of such means in oncological practice (in particular, at treatment of sarcoma).
The alkaloid capable to cause damage to a nervous system and death from suffocation contains in plants of family of a nightshade family: to a datura, belladonna, henbane, etc. Actually this substance is life-threatening only in quite high dosage – the lethal outcome is probable at one-time reception of 400 mkg on kilogram of weight.
The medicine uses atropine long ago and widely:
Yellow scorpion (the look living preferential on Arabian Peninsula) – the dangerous arthropod having strong poison and extremely agressive behavior. The sting of a yellow scorpion is deadly as antidote does not exist. The person who endured attack is threatened by a serum death or a fluid lungs.
Recently there were data that one of components of poison of a yellow scorpion can be used in fight against malignant new growths of a brain including the most widespread of them – gliomas. Now drugs pass clinical tests, and their results very encourage. Besides, developments of drugs on the basis of other components of poison are begun. They will be applied to treatment of a diabetes mellitus.
Pink bird spider – the large spider living in Central and South America. In the nature he hunts crickets and other insects, immobilizing production by means of poison. For human life the sting of a pink bird spider of danger does not represent, except for exceptional cases of heavy allergic reactions.
The American scientists allocated the protein reducing risk of emergence of fibrillation and stabilizing work of a cardiac muscle from poison of the Chilean pink bird spider. On its basis drug which administration helps to save human life during heart attack is created.
Parasitic fungus the ergot which strikes cereals contains the alkaloids (in particular very toxic – эрготинин) possessing hallucinogenic action and also defiant spasms of smooth muscles, a spasm, development of a cataract, in a big dosage – death. In medieval Europe in the years favorable for wide circulation of an ergot, people often ate the infected grain. At the same time poisonings quite often accepted character of epidemic.
Modern agrotechnical receptions practically liquidate danger of mass poisoning with an ergot. But one of its types is specially cultivated for use in pharmacology. The alkaloids emitted from a fungus are a part of the drugs used for treatment of migraines, some nervous breakdowns and Parkinson's disease, and also uterine bleedings.
This substance was invented in 1948 for fight against rodents, but literally in three years it became clear that warfarin is the strongest anticoagulant and can be applied as means against thromboses.
Today warfarin is appointed to the patients who had a myocardial infarction or operation on installation of artificial valves of heart for reduction of viscosity of blood and decrease in risk of formation of blood clots.
Use of toxins in the therapeutic purposes demands extra care. They cannot be applied without appointment of the doctor at all or to allocate independently from vegetable raw materials. It is very important to remember also that any disturbance of a dosage or mode of reception of toxic agents can lead to the most sad effects.
The person accepting antidepressants in most cases will have a depression again. If the person coped with depression by own efforts, he has every chance forever to forget about this state.
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