Calabar Bean, the fruit of physostigma venenosum (Gr.Calabar Bean 0300313 , bellows, and Calabar Bean 0300314 a prick), a climbing plant of the family leguminosm, which grows by the river sides in western Africa. The leaves, which are more than an inch long, three quarters of an inch in width, and of a brownish red or ash-gray color, are used by the natives to determine the guilt or innocence of persons suspected of crime, and have thence received the name of ordeal bean. The quantity used for this purpose is said to be generally fatal unless vomiting is produced. Of 70 cases of children in Liverpool who ate of the beans, the only one who died was the only one who did not vomit either from the drug itself or from emetics. Some of the symptoms produced by a small dose are difficulty of breathing, palpitation, depression, muscular weakness, and indistinctness of vision. After larger doses vomiting is likely to take place; when it does not, the symptons increase until death; speech becomes difficult, but the mind remains clear. Some of its most important effects are upon the eye, the pupil being strongly contracted, and the accommodation so disturbed that distant objects are not seen until the near point is approximated, being in this respect almost the exact opposite of belladonna. The same effects are observed after local application.

Its action, according to Dr. Eraser's experiments, is that of a powerful sedative to the spinal cord and cardiac ganglia. It has been as yet chiefly employed in ophthalmic practice, but has been recommended as an antidote to strychnia, and in tetanus and chorea. In some cases of tetanus it has been apparently successful. It may be administered either by the mouth or rectum, or subcutaneously, the dose being regulated by the effect produced.

Calabar Bean (Physostigma venenosum).

Calabar Bean (Physostigma venenosum).