Rituals can kill - A fatal case of brucine poisoning

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Abstract

In some parts of India people follow a religious ritual of drinking an herbal preparation made from the bark of the Alstonia scholaris tree (Blackboard tree) on the day of the new moon in the month of July. This tree could be easily confused with the Strychnos nux vómica tree. Brucine is the predominant alkaloid present in the bark of the Strychnos nux vómica tree. The toxicological property of brucine is similar to strychnine. Brucine is a neurotoxin. A 29-year-old male presented with a history of consumption of an herbal preparation made from the bark of the Strychnos nux vómica tree confusing it for Alstonia scholaris. Soon after, he developed convulsions and later died in hospital on the same day. The aim of this case report is to highlight the fact that people must be cautious when they follow religious rituals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-423
Number of pages3
JournalAustralasian Medical Journal
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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