Witches' ointments and love-potions: a contribution
to the cultural history of nightshades

by
Muller J.
Universitat Bern, Switzerland.
Gesnerus. 1998;55(3-4):205-20


ABSTRACT

The nightshades (solanaceae) were used as intoxicants since the ancient civilizations and are still in use today. Their alkaloids, atropine and scopolamine, were the major active substances of the ointments of witches, of medieval "anaesthetics", and of modern poisons for murder. In a medium dose-range the predominant symptoms are hallucinations and illusions. This explains the use of nightshades in fortune-telling and religious rituals. In higher doses the alkaloids produce coma and apnea. Scopolamine enjoyed a particular popularity as a poison for murder. In the 19th century the nightshade alkaloids were also in clinical use. This article focusses on the medical history of the psychosis due to intoxication with solanaceae.
People
Scopolamine
Anaesthesia
Nitrous oxide
Inhaled anaesthetics
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Chloroform anaesthesia
A thalamocortical switch?
Anaesthesia and the spinal chord
History of anaesthesia apparatus
Consciousness, anaesthesia and anaesthetics
Anaesthesia: mutants in yeast, nematodes, fruit flies and mice



Refs
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general-anaesthesia.com
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