Other Names

Estricnina, stricnina, strychnidin-1 O-on, strychnin,

2,4a,5,5a,8, 15a,15 b, 15c-decahydro-4,6-methano-

14H,16H-indolo [3,2,1,ij]oxepino- [2,3,4-de]pyrrolo

[2,3 -h] chinolin-14-on

Substance type: indole alkaloid, strychnos alkaloid

Strychnine docks to the glycine receptor. At

lower dosages it is clearly psychoactive, in a manner

very similar to yohimbine. The therapeutic dosage

for tonic purposes is listed as 1 to 3 mg; a dosage of

5 mg produces aphrodisiac and psychoactive

effects. However, 10 mg can cause convulsions,

and dosages above 30 mg can lead to difficulty in

breathing and severe anxiety (Neuwinger 1994,

527*). From 100 to 300 mg is normally regarded

as a lethal dosage for adults, while dosages as low

as 1 to 5 mg can prove fatal to small children (Roth

et al. 1994,935*). Strychnine is an extremely stable

molecule and could still be detected in corpses

that were exhumed as much as four years after

burial (Roth et al. 1994, 935*). Diazepam is

recommended as an antidote in cases of strychnine

poisoning or overdose (Moeschlin 1980).

Kavapyrones and kava-kava can also be used as

antidotes for strychnine poisoning (cf. Piper

methysticum) .

Strychnine is also an effective aphrodisiac, but

the dosage must be very precise:

Milligram dosages of strychnine nitrate

administered internally or subcutaneously

cause an increased sensitivity of the senses

(the feeling that vision, hearing, taste, smell

are more acute) and faster reflex response.

(Hihner 1943,221*)

Strychnine docks to the glycine receptor. At

lower dosages it is clearly psychoactive, in a manner

very similar to yohimbine. The therapeutic dosage

for tonic purposes is listed as 1 to 3 mg; a dosage of

5 mg produces aphrodisiac and psychoactive

effects. However, 10 mg can cause convulsions,

and dosages above 30 mg can lead to difficulty in

breathing and severe anxiety (Neuwinger 1994,

527*). From 100 to 300 mg is normally regarded

as a lethal dosage for adults, while dosages as low

as 1 to 5 mg can prove fatal to small children (Roth

et al. 1994,935*). Strychnine is an extremely stable

molecule and could still be detected in corpses

that were exhumed as much as four years after

burial (Roth et al. 1994, 935*). Diazepam is

recommended as an antidote in cases of strychnine

poisoning or overdose (Moeschlin 1980).

Kavapyrones and kava-kava can also be used as

antidotes for strychnine poisoning (cf. Piper

methysticum) .

Strychnine is also an effective aphrodisiac, but

the dosage must be very precise:

The literature contains numerous references

to the stimulating effects of strychnine on the

sexual apparatus. Many experienced immediate erections. But the extraordinary toxicity of

the substance makes it an especially dangerous

aphrodisiac. Strychnine has for this reason

always played a dangerous role in criminality

in this regard as well. (Hirschfeld and Linsert

1930,210*)

A very effective recipe for a "firm erection" can

be prepared with strychnine and other substances

(from Gotttlieb 1974,81*):

<tbody> </tbody>
5mg yohimbine hydrochloride
5mg methyltestosterone
25mg pemoline
2mg strychnine sulfate

Strychnine is said to have been the favorite drug

of Adolf Hitler, who also appears to have used

cocaine (Schmidbauer and vom Scheidt 1984,

260*):

Moreover, we will never know if and how

Hitler's strategy and war leadership might

have changed if he had not been making his

decisions while in a euphoric trance state

induced by high dosages of strychnine. . . .

(Irving 1980, 135)

Strychnine has also had an impact on sports

because of its prominent role as a doping agent

(Schmidbauer and vom Scheidt 1984,289*).

Strychnine is a popular rat poison and is still

used for this purpose today. In the United States,

the members of some rather extreme Christian

sects drink such rat poisons as an ordeal and an

inebriant during their worship services. It is said

that the Holy Spirit will protect the true believers

from dying from the poison. Surprisingly, these

cults have not yet become extinct.
Commercial Forms and Regulations

The substance is available in the form of a base

and as strychnine hydrochloride, strychnine

nitrate, strychnine phosphate, and strychnine

sulfate~ All forms of the substance are subject to

the regulations concerning dangerous substances.

Strychnine is listed in Class 1 of the Swiss Poison

List. In principle, however, strychnine is legal.

Literature

See also the entries for Strychnos nux-vomica and

Strychnos spp.

Haas, Hans, and Hans Friedrich Zipf. 1949. Dber die

erregende Wirkung von Barbitursaureabkommlingen

und ihre Beeinflussung durch Strychnin,

Pervitin und Cardiazol. Archiv fur experimentelle

Pathologie und Pharmakologie 206 (5/6): 683-97.

Irving, David. 1980. Wie krank war Hitler wirklich?

Munich: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag.

Moeschlin, S. 1980. Klinik und Therapie der

Vergiftung. 6th ed. Stuttgart: Thieme.

Seeger, R., and H. G. Neumann. 1986.

Strychnin/Brucin. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung

126 (26): 1386-88.

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