Descriptions and articles about the Crow Killer, scientifically known as Anamirta cocculus in the Encyclopedia of Life. Includes Overview; Comprehensive Desc. Woody climbers. Leaves alternate, x cm, broadly ovate, apex acute, base truncate, 5-ribbed, coriaceous; petiole cm long. Flowers unisexual. Common name: Fish Berry, Indian berry, Levant nut • Hindi: काकमारी Kakamari • Kannada: chiplothi, chippula kaayi, chipula koll.
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In the Philippines, an infusion of the roots of A.
xocculus Extract of the stem is added to native wine and is drunk to make the blood strong. The leaves may be used anamjrta a poultice for headache, stomach-ache or delayed menstruation. The dried fruits constitute the drug known as “cocculus” or “cocculus indicus”.
In Laos, the fruit is used in very small doses to treat eruptive fevers. The powdered fruit is used to treat acute barbiturate poisoning. In India, the fruits and seeds are made into an ointment for external application to treat skin diseases. The seeds are also externally applied to kill head lice. The juice of the fruits is applied externally to ulcers and scabies. The fruit and especially the seed contain picrotoxin, a very strong poison.
Picrotoxin has been used intravenously as an antidote against poisoning by barbiturates and morphine. However, the safe therapeutic dose range is very narrow. Picrotoxin has been used in very minute doses as a nervine tonic in schizophrenia and epilepsy and similar afflictions.
In South-East Asia the fruit of A. For fish poison fresh or dry semi-ripe fruits with or without the fruit pulp are ground with shell-fish, shrimp or small crabs. The resulting paste is made into pellets used as fish bait. Upon ingestion of these pills the fish become stupefied and will float to the surface, after which the fish must be swiftly eviscerated.
This is done in order to reuse the bait coculus avoid contamination of the fish with the poison. In the Philippines fruits are heated or roasted, crushed and powdered. The resulting powder is simply thrown in the water to stupefy the fish. In the past the fruit was sometimes used fraudulently in the United Kingdom to flavour beers with its bitterness. Dried fruits of A. They were known to the physicians of the Arabic schools from the tenth century, and in the following centuries passed on to Europe, obtaining the name “cocci orientalis”.
Recent information on production and trade, however, is not available.
The fruits are an anamigta of many homeopathic formulations. Picrotoxin is a crystalline equimolar mixture of 2 sesquiterpene dilactones, i. Of the latter 2, only picrotoxinin is pharmacologically active. The seed, when taken internally, is a powerful poison for all vertebrates affecting the central nervous system, stimulating the motor and inhibitory centres in the medulla, especially the respiratory and vagus centres, acting on the heart and respiration. It also irritates motor centres, either in the cerebrum or in the medulla and cord, producing in all vertebrates alternating epileptiform spasms, with periodic stoppage of the motions of the diaphragm and slowness of the pulse.
The poisoning causes vomiting, purging, profuse sweating and intoxication, with extreme giddiness, naamirta of vision and unconsciousness. Breathing and the pulse become weak.
The poisoning also results in clonic convulsions; during spasms and intervals of relaxations the pupils correspondingly contract or dilate. Death occurs rapidly from respiration failure, or slowly from gastro-intestinal symptoms. On a biochemical level, picrotoxin or more precisely its active constituent, picrotoxinin act as GABA gamma-amino butyric acid antagonists. It stimulates the central nervous system, particularly the medulla oblongata and respiratory centre.
Administration of picrotoxin via the vertebral artery decreased sinus rate and increased circulating levels of vasopressin. On the other hand, infusion of picrotoxin into the internal carotid artery caused increases in sinus rate, blood pressure and plasma vasopressin.
These data support the hypothesis that GABAergic mechanisms at different levels of the neuraxis exert opposite effects on cardiac vagal activity, and that GABAergic mechanisms in both the brainstem and forebrain inhibit the release of clcculus into the systemic circulation. At receptor level, the GABA receptor is a complex, membrane-bound glycoprotein, operating a chloride-ion channel. When the endogenous agonist GABA is released into the synaptic cleft, the receptor opens its ion channel, resulting in an influx of chloride ions and hyperpolarization of the membrane, thus being responsible for the resulting pharmacological effects.
On the GABA receptor site, barbiturates bind close to the chloride channel and, at least in part, increase chloride-ion conductance mimicking GABA activation. On the other hand, picrotoxinin specifically binds to the same barbiturate site, but blocks the opening of the chloride channel. Therefore, picrotoxin can be used as a specific barbiturate poisoning anaimrta, although its safety limits are very narrow.
Anamirta cocculus – Wikipedia
Furthermore, the fruits contain the isoquinoline alkaloids menispermine, paramenispermine, magnoflorine, stephorine, berberine, palmatine and l,8-oxotetrahydropalmatine. In addition, the stem and roots contain only coccullus amounts about 0.
The stem also contains oxypalmine and stepharine. In general, the alkaloids isolated from A. Picrotoxin is also isolated from Tinomiscium petiolare Hook. Several of the alkaloids recorded for A.
A large, dioecious liana, up to 15 m long; stem twisting to the left, up to 10 cm in diameter, with stout, smooth branches, young stems and petioles pale straw-coloured when drying, striate, wood white or yellowish, exuding white milky sap when cut.
Inflorescence a panicle, cauliflorous, spreading or pendulous, cm long with lateral branches cm long, glabrous, bracteoles about 0. Flowers shortly pedicellate, unisexual, petals absent, strongly fragrant; male flowers with glabrous pedicels up to mm long, sepals white, yellow or pale green, outer sepals 2, scarcely 1 mm long, inner sepals 6, broadly anamirra, 2. Infructescence with lateral branches up to 15 cm long, gynophore 3- mm long, shortly branched below the drupes, continuous with pedicel, mm long.
Fruit a drupe, nearly spherical, mm long, white turning red, finally dark purple, glabrous, smooth and hard when dry. Seed deeply cup-shaped, with endosperm; embryo with foliaceous, divaricate cotyledons. Pollination is probably effected by insects which are attracted by the scent of the flowers.
However, they can easily be distinguished. The domatia in the leaves of A. It prefers a seasonal climate. When used as a medicine the ripe fruits of A. For its use as a fish poison the same procedure can be followed or the fruits may be employed fresh.
In view of its large geographical distribution and its occurrence in a wide range of habitats it qnamirta unlikely that A. Despite its longstanding use no reports of cultivation, let alone breeding efforts have been recorded.
Picrotoxin and picrotoxinin are substances with a distinct pharmacological profile, i. GABA antagonistic activity by interacting with the amamirta binding site on the receptor.
Due to this mechanism the compounds anwmirta, and have been used as antidotes in barbiturate poisonings. Due to their extremely narrow safety limits and variable anamirtw, however, they will never be used in general medical practice. On the other hand, in medicinal research, picrotoxinin is generally used as an experimental substance in the laboratory, and in laboratory animals.