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Strausbaugh, Perry D. Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
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A genus of tropical trees and shrubs belonging to the Logania family (Loganiaceae). Strychnos nux-vomica (see illustration), a native of India and Sri Lanka, is the source of the alkaloid known as strychnine. Strychnine has been used medicinally in the treatment of certain nervous disorders and paralysis. Curare, used by a number of indigenous peoples to poison arrows, is obtained from S. toxifera and S. castelnaei in the Guianas and upper regions of the Amazon river and from S. tieute in the Sunda Islands. Curare paralyzes the motor nerve endings in striated muscles and is used in medical practice in cases in which a state of extreme muscular relaxation or even immobility is desirable. It has become an important drug in the field of anesthesiology. See also: Anesthesia; Gentianales; Pharmacognosy; Strychnine alkaloids
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