Conium maculatum Linn

Family ► Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat ► North temperate regions.

English ► Spotted Hemlock, Poison Hemlock.

Unani ► Khardmaanaa, Shuk.

Action ► Sedative, anodyne, antispasmodic. Used for relief in whooping cough, asthma; paralysis; epilepsy. Antidote to strichnine poisoning and other poisons of the same class. Highly toxic. Mother tincture of Hemlock is used in homoeopathy for prevention of immature cataract.

All parts of the plant contain alkaloids—highest in aerial parts (1.77%) and lowest in stems. Gamma-conice-ine is the principal alkaloid in the leaves, whereas N-methylconiine is the major alkaloid in mature fruits. Beside the alkaloids, a flavone glycoside, dios-min and chlorogenic acid have been reported in the leaves and inflorescence. Ripe seeds yield coumarins, bergapten and xanthotoxin. Experimentally, the plant exhibited teratogenic properties. (Rarely used today.)

Berries are toxic at 10 g, leaves at 30 g and coniine at 150 mg. (Francis Brinker.)

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