Arrow poison

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As poison are poisons referred to by different wildbooter groups to hunting with bow and blow pipe on their arrowheads ( bow or blowpipe arrows are applied). Many poisons are nerve poisons that can usually be ingested with prepared food without any health effects. Others lead to cardiac arrest or internal bleeding.

Herbal arrow poisons

A vegetable-derived arrow poison that is widespread in South America is curare made from the bark and leaves of various lianas ( hairy cartilage tree , nuke nuts ). Curare paralyzes the respiratory muscles, which leads to death from respiratory failure .

In Southeast Asia ( Borneo , Java ), the milky sap from the Upas tree is used with the active ingredient antiarin , which leads to cardiac arrest . In Africa is from the seeds of Strophanthusgewächse the strophanthine won that to the cardiac glycosides counts. Also from Africa is the strong poison of Spondianthus preussii which is based on fluoroacetic acid and cucurbitacins . In South Africa arrow poisons are mainly extracted from the fan lily . This contains a strong neurotoxin , which leads to drowsiness, coma and even death.

Protoveratrin and Germerin were obtained from Germer species in the northern hemisphere . The White Germer grows in the Alpine region and in Eastern Europe. Symptoms of poisoning are muscle spasms, hallucinations, shortness of breath and finally circulatory collapse . The strongest herbal arrow poison in the northern hemisphere (Europe, China) is aconitine from monkshood . Typical symptoms of poisoning in blue monkshood are circulatory and respiratory paralysis.

In the Odyssey written by the Greek poet Homer in the 8th century BC BC, it describes that the hero Odysseus mixed his arrows with vegetable poison. According to modern interpretation, the oriental hellebore ( Helleborus orientalis ) is probably made for this. From the Greek term “toxikon Pharmakon” for the arrow poison ( Gr. Τόξον, Toxon “arrow”) the word “Toxikon” was later formed for poisons in general, which forms the root word of toxicology .

Poison dart frog Dendrobates reticulatus from easternmost Peru near the Amazon
Poison dart frog (Atlanta Botanical Garden in the Fuqua Conservatory)

Animal arrow poisons

Poison darts obtained from animals come from the skin secretions of poison dart frogs found in Central and South America . The poison ( batrachotoxin ) of the terrible poison dart frog was used by the Chocó Indians in Colombia for blowpipe arrows .

In West Africa ( Togo ), plant venom was mixed with snake venom . The San in South West Africa used the crushed larvae of the spotted poison arrow beetle , sometimes mixed with the roasted seeds of the Swartzia .

In Africa, an extract from the crocodile gall is also used.


  • NG Bisset: Arrow and dart poisons. J Ethnopharmacol , Vol. 25 (1), 1989, pp. 1-41. Review. PMID 2654488 (an overview of the history, chemistry and ethnopharmacology of animal and vegetable arrow poisons, with an extensive literature collection)
  • Louis Lewin : The Arrow Poisons - According to our own toxicological and ethnological studies . Gerstenberg Hildesh., 1984 (reprint of the 1923 edition), ISBN 3-8067-2021-5
  • Hans Dieter Neuwinger: African medicinal plants and hunting poisons . Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbh, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-8047-1314-9
  • Bernhard Witkop: Newer work on arrow poisons. Die Chemie (Angewandte Chemie, new part) 55 (11/12), pp. 85-90 (1942), ISSN  1521-3757

Individual evidence

  1. Drugs and arrow poisons in Indian medicine. Retrieved January 6, 2020 .
  2. Curare. Arrow poison. | Henriette's Herbal Homepage. Retrieved January 7, 2020 .
  3. ^ Oswald Schmiedeberg: About the pharmaceuticals in the Iliad and Odyssey. (Papers of the Scientific Society in Strasbourg, No. 36). Strasbourg, Verlag Karl J. Trübner, 1918, 29 pp.
  4. The arrow poisons . In: Archives for pathological anatomy and physiology and for clinical medicine . Issue 1 edition. Volume 136, April 1894, pp. pp 83-126 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Pfeilgift  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations