Marion, IN Man Mistakes Poison for Whiskey, July 1902
The Sunday Journal newspaper, Indianapolis, IN
Sunday 13 July 1902; Page 2, Column 2
MARION MAN DRINKS POISON
MISTAKES IT FOR WHISKY AND DIES FROM THE DOSE
Drank Nux Vomica*
A Marion Man Mistook It For Whisky And Now Is Dead
Special to the Indianapolis Journal:
Marion, IN, July 12 - David GUNNION, aged sixty-eight, accidentally killed himself this afternoon by drinking the contents of a two-ounce glass filled with nux vomica*.
He was at the Marion Hospital to receive treatment for a twisted knee. He asked for a drink of whisky, which the nurse gave him. She left the room and in her absence GUNNION refilled the glass from a bottle which he thought contained whisky, but which contained nux vomica*.
He died in fifteen minutes.
*Strychnos nux-vomica - from Wikipedia
The strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica L.) also known as nux vomica, poison nut, semen strychnos and quaker buttons, is a deciduous tree native to India, southeast Asia. It is a medium-sized tree in the family Loganiaceae that grows in open habitats. Its leaves are ovate and 2–3.5 inches (5.1–8.9 cm) in size.
It is a major source of the highly poisonous intensely bitter alkaloids strychnine and brucine, derived from the seeds inside the tree's round, green to orange fruit. The seeds contain approximately 1.5% strychnine, and the dried blossoms contain 1.0%. However, the tree's bark also contains brucine and other poisonous compounds.
The use of strychnine is highly regulated in many countries, and is mostly used in baits to kill feral mammals including wild dogs, foxes, and rodents. Most accidental poisoning is by breathing in the powder or by absorption through the skin.
There are no uses in modern medicine, although it was widely used in medicine before World War II. Strychnine is a deadly poison with a lethal dose to humans of about 30 to 120 mg. Survival of substantially higher doses has been reported. The properties of Nux Vomica are those of the alkaloid strychnine. Strychnine is eliminated with a half-life of about 12 hours.
The most direct symptom caused by strychnine is violent convulsions due to a simultaneous stimulation of the motor or sensory ganglia of the spinal cord. During the convulsions there is a rise in blood pressure. Brucine closely resembles strychnine in its action, but is slightly less poisonous as it only causes paralysis of the peripheral motor nerves.