What is strychnine?

   The strychnine is a poisonous alkaloid, C21H22N2O2, found in various plants of the genus Strychnos, and obtained commercially from the seeds of the Saint-Ignatius's-bean and from nux vomica. Strychnine is obtained in colorless or white rhombic crystals, which have a bitter taste and which melt at 286 ° to 288 °C. (547 ° to 550 °F.). It is slightly soluble in water and is soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, and benzene. Strychnine forms sulfate and nitrate salts which are completely soluble in water. Strychnine has been widely used in medicine as a stimulant and tonic; because much contradictory clinical evidence exists today, the use of Strychnine for these purposes is controversial. Strychnine in larger doses than those used therapeutically causes a hyperexcitation of the central nervous system, and especially of the spinal cord, resulting in ex­treme reflex movements at the slightest stimulus. Overdoses of Strychnine result in convulsions when the patient is subjected to stimuli as negligible as a sudden dim light. The convulsions take the form of tetanic contractions of muscle, with the muscles ex-tending the arms, legs, and body being most severely contracted. Death from Strychnine poisoning is a result of paralysis of the respiratory center in the medulla of the brain, rather than of convulsions. Strychnine is frequently used as a poison for rats and vermin.