Cardiac glycosides

fight-me-boi  asked:

Poisonous plants with pretty flowers? For my story I'm having a nerdish inventor type character flirting with an heir to a crime empire the inventor is kinda saying you're beautiful but deadly

Hi, Fight-me-boi. What is probably the most poisonous tree in the world is the manchineel tree. But I’m not going to recommend your character use it. For a few reasons a)I can’t find pictures of it’s flowers to be able to say it’s beautiful and b) it’s so dangerous that standing under one in the rain can give you blisters and inhaling the smoke of one burning can make you go blind. If you search for images of them, there are signs posted on them to warn people to stay away because of how dangerous.

I started with that because you weren’t completely clear on how poisonous you wanted the plant to be. Going off of the “beautiful but deadly” I’m going to try to stick with plants that can kill humans. 

My favorite flower is Lily-of-the-Valley. But even though it looks so dainty, the plant contains 38 different cardiac glycosides. All parts of the plant are toxic.

Hemlock is a classic poison, but there are actually two famously poisonous hemlock plants. Poison hemlock is poisonous if eaten and will numb the extremities with the numbness creeping in until the lungs are paralyzed. Water hemlock, which is considered the most poisonous plant in North America, causes violent, painful convulsions and cramps.

Arconite, aka wolfsbane, aka monkshood, aka devil’s helmet, is another traditional poison. It was used by shepherds to poison arrows shot at wolves that would prey on the flocks and the poison ultimately works by respiratory failure.

Larkspur is related to Arconite and is similarly dangerous. Brief contacts with stems and leaves can irritate the skin and ingestion will lead to respiratory paralysis, and thus death.

Oleander is quite pretty and very toxic. The entire plant, including nectar, is poisonous. It’s said that as little as 100g  is enough to kill a full-grown horse.

Yellow Jessamine has similar alkaloids to strychnine which makes it quite poisonous, even to honeybees gathering its nectar.

There are many many more poisonous plants that fit these criteria. Too many to show in one post.  Some of them are:

Golden Chain
Mother of Millions
English Broom
White Snakeroot
Angel’s Trumpet
Autumn Crocus
Suicide Tree
Deadly Nightshade
Mountain Laurel
Calla Lily
Adenium obesum

I hope this helps.

~*Mod Den*~


D&D Homebrew Poisons

So, im working on a mini series for badassdanddpics and was wondering if you guys had any ideas. im calling the mini series “Bewildering Botany and Perilous Poisons” that will basically showcase magical plant homebrew that will aid adventures and villains alike. for the poison section of it, i put together some basic information from D&D about the rules as well as how they are applied and used against others as well as common symptoms from plants in the real world.

different poisons are applied to victims by

  • contact
  • ingested
  • inhaled
  • injury
  • smoke from being burned

common rules (for 5th edition D&D regarding poison)

  • A weapon coated with poison will dry out in one minute.
  • When you are poisoned, you will usually suffer from the poisoned condition.
  • Poison can be bought or crafted using the downtime rules and a poisoner’s kit.
  • Cures for poison include low level spells or anti-toxin.
  • Truth Serum is listed under poisons, and is something I think could be useful in your campaign in many different ways.
  • Poisoned: A poisoned creature has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
  • each round until you make a saving throw.

Common symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, disables nerves, lowers blood pressure, and can stop the heart, muscle twitches, and sometimes paralysis, irritation of skin throat and mouth, swelling, burning pain, breathing difficulties and stomach upset. dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, convulsions and photo-toxicity

underneath the “keep reading” i have included some actual plants that could help with creating realistic homebrew.

Keep reading

Collected on this Day in 1993

Collected on June 23, 1993, this specimen was found by Fred Utech near the Loyalhanna Creek in Salem Township, Pennsylvania.

Do not let the common name affect your opinion of this plant! Butterfly weed (Aclepias tuberosa) is a beautiful plant, and the pollinators love the bright orange flowers. Native to eastern North America, it can be found in dry, full sun conditions. It is a great plant to add to your garden!  

Like other milkweeds (butterfly weed is in the milkweed genus), butterfly weed flower clusters mature into seed pods, which eventual dry up to release airborne seeds in the late summer. The long, silk-like hairs (called pappi) have been used by Native Americans to make textiles.

Despite its looks, butterfly weed is poisonous to ingest. Like other milkweeds, this plant contains defensive chemicals called cardiac glycosides, which are poisonous to humans, livestock, and pets.  Milkweeds vary in their toxicity depending on species and age of plant. Symptoms can include weakness, difficulty breathing, kidney damage, cardiac distress, pupil dilation, loss of muscle control, and respiratory paralysis.

Botanists at Carnegie Museum of Natural History share pieces of the herbarium’s historical hidden collection on the dates they were discovered or collected. Check back for more!

Common Poisonous House and Garden Plants and their Symptoms

If you have children or pets or suspect someone might have ingested or handled these plants improperly, this list is for you. Most of these plants seem entirely harmless and even more of them are used every day in gardens and as indoor decoration or in spellwork. Most all the symptoms I list are symptoms of ingestion unless otherwise noted. If something is incorrect, please feel free to message me and I will fix it shortly!

Peace Lily (Spathiphylum)

Peace lilies resemble Calla lilies and are fairly popular as gifts. They contain calcium oxalate crystals that can bring on skin irritation when handled, burning of the mouth, difficulty swallowing and nausea.

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

The berries from English Ivy can cause gastrointestinal issues and delirium or respiratory problems. Sap from the leaves can cause skin irritation and sometimes blisters.


All parts of this plant contain calcium oxalate. Repeated contact can cause reactions similar to allergic reactions and ingestion can cause abdominal pain.

Ficus trees and Rubber Trees (Ficus Benjamina/Elastica)

Ficus trees produce a form of latex that can bring on allergic reactions in some people.

Larkspur and Delphinium (consolida ajacis)

Similar to our deadly friend Aconite (monkshood), this plant can bring about the same symptoms if ingested in a large enough quantity.

Lily of the Valley (Convalina mahalis)

Contains cardiac glycosides that can cause headache, nausea, and cardiac issues.

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Contains toxic alkaloids that can cause nausea, seizures, and respiratory issues.

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

All parts of sweet peas are mildly poisonous. New sprouts and shoots contain the most toxins, an amino acid called lathyrogen. Can cause paralysis, weakness and tremors.


Produces a highly irritating sap. Touching the bulbs can cause a reaction as well as breathing dust from the bulbs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, breathing issues, and weakness.

Hyacinth (hyacinth orientalis)

Sap and bulbs, much like tulips, are major skin irritants.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons

A toxin called grannotoxin can be found in the leaves, flowers, nectar and pollen. Ingestion can cause heart problems, vomiting, dizziness, and extreme weakness

Black Locust (Robina Psudocacia)

All parts but the flowers are poisonous. Can cause weak pulse, upset stomach, headache, and cold extremities.


All parts are toxic. Causes burning, fever, vomiting and in extreme cases kidney failure.


All parts are poisonus. Sap is a skin irritant and bright berries are deadly. Irritation of the throat, internal bleeding, weakness, and vomiting are all symptoms.

Foxglove (digitalis)

All parts can cause severe stomach upset, skin irritation, delirium, tremors, convulsion, headaches, and heart failure.

Hellebore/Christmas Rose

All parts are poisonous, and the sap is a skin irritant. Can cause bruning, vomiting, dizziness, nervous depression, and convulsions.


Often used as a cake topper, Hydrangea actually contains levels of cyanide. Ingestion leads to vomiting, headache, and muscle weakness.


Berries contain toxins that can cause visual problems, weakness, vomiting, heart problems and even death.


Contains a toxin known as Lobelamine that can cause heart problems, vomiting, tremors and paralysis.

Yellow Jessamine (Gelsimium semperviens)

All parts are toxic. Pollen and nectar are fatal to children.


A Collection of Some of the World’s Deadliest Plants

1. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) – Initially, most people wouldn’t think of tobacco as a “deadly” plant. However, it is the most widely grown commercial plant in the world. All parts of the plant contain the toxic alkaloids nicotine and anabasine, and can be fatal if eaten. Despite its dangers, nicotine from tobacco is widely consumed around the world and is addictive. Tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year.

2. Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) – the sister plant of hemlock, water hemlock is widely considered to be the deadliest plant in North America. Fun fact:  water hemlock greatly resembles Queen Anne’s lace and it is actually sometimes confused with parsnips or celery. Where normal hemlock contains the toxin coniine (which causes paralysis), water hemlock contains cicutoxin and cicunol. These toxins cause extremely violent and painful convulsions, cramps, and tremors.

3. Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) – Deadly nightshade is actually part of the same family that comprises both the tomato and potato. It contains the poisons solanine, atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. A dose of around two to five berries is usually sufficient to kill an adult. Fun fact:  Belladonna means ‘beautiful lady’; it refers to the 17th century practice of women putting a small extract of belladonna in their eyes to dilate their pupils and make them more attractive.

4. White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) – A seemingingly innocuous plant, white snakeroot is a North American herb which contains the toxin trematol. This plant is a favorite among livestock, and the toxins can pass from the animal ingesting to their meat/milk, causing indirect poisoning. Despite the symptoms of tremors, violent vomiting, delirium, and weakness from being ingested, it gets it name due to the fact that it can be an effective cure from snake bites.

5.  Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius) – Also known by the names: jequirity, paternoster pea, crab’s eye, precatory bean, Indian licorice or Jumbie bread. These beans actually contain a poison 100x more deadly than ricin, known as abrin. This is a common plant throughout the tropics and even as far north as Florida. These brightly-colored beans have a variety of uses including as the rattling beans inside maracas and in jewelry (hence the name rosary beads). Fortunately the bean has a very tough protective coating.

6. Oleander (Nerium oleander) Oleanders are a beautiful plant known for their eye-catching flowers. Despite being a common ornamental plant, all parts of the oleander plant are deadly. It contains lethal cardiac glycosides known as oleandrin and neriine. Ingesting oleander can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, erratic pulse, seizures, coma, and death. Another fun fact: the term ‘oleander’ actually derives from Italy and translates to “ass killer” (I’m guessing the bloody diarrhea contributed to that).

7.  Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – Lily of the Valley is common throughout Northern Europe and America. Its pretty appearance is deceiving, it is a deadly, poisonous plant containing a whopping 38 different cardiac glycosides. Highest on the list would be the toxin convallatoxin . Symptoms of poisoning can include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, slow heart beat and excessive urination.

8.Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella) – This particular fruit-bearing tree is common in coastal regions, such as Florida, South and Central America. It is considered to be the world’s deadliest tree. The Manchineel tree bears toxic apples, and produces a sap (which contains the toxin phorbol) known to cause painful blisters upon contact with skin. Even burning the wood from a Manchineel tree can cause blindness. Natives used to use the sap on their arrowheads. Common symptoms of poisoning include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

9. Suicide Tree (Cerbera odollam) – Most commonly found in areas such as India and Madagascar,  it contains the powerful alkaloid, cerberin, which causes an irregular heartbeat, which can be fatal. Once used as a form of trial in Madagascar (if you survived its effects, you were innocent) it was outlawed as a punishment in the mid-19th century. The plant has also been referred as the perfect murder weapon. Its flavor can be disguised by spices when served in food (I am not promoting this in any way!!). The toxins from this tree claim approximately 50 lives a year.

10. Aconite (Aconitum napellus) – Also known as monkshood and wolf’s bane (Thank you, Professor Snape). It contains the aptly-named toxin, aconitine. It commonly referred to as the “queen of poisons”, and probably the most poisonous plant in Europe. Just touching the plant can cause severe and immediate symptoms, and ingesting is often fatal. Immediate effects include a burning in the mouth. This is followed by drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. As the poison progresses symptoms include numbness, tingling, irregular heartbeat and respiratory failure. The toxins in this plant were long-used in preparing arrows for hunting and warfare.

★Trade Name: Magnesium Sulfate

★Classification: Electrolyte, anticonvulsant

★Mechanism of Action: Mag Sulfate reduces striated muscle contraction and blocks peripheral neuromuscular transmission by reducing acetylcholine release at the myocardial junction. In EMS, Mag Sulfate is used to manage seizures associated with toxemia during pregnancy. Other uses include uterine relaxation to slow labor in premature delivery. It is useful as a bronchodilator after beta-agonists and anticholinergic agents have been administered. Recently, Mag Sulfate has been used for certain cardiac dysrhythmias especially, torsades de pointes, tricyclic antidepressant overdose and digitalis toxicity. Magnesium Sulfate is a Class IIA agent (probably helpful) in the use of V-Tach/V-Fib refractory to Lidocaine.

-Seizure from Eclampsia
-Torsades de Pointes
-Suspected hypomagnesaemia
-Refractory V-Fib
-Status Asthmaticus not responding to beta-adrenergic agents.

-Heart block
-Myocardial damage

★Adverse Reactions
-Facial flushing
-Depressed reflexes
-Circulatory collapse
-Respiratory depression

★Drug Interactions
-CNS depressant effects may be enhanced if the patient is taking other CNS depressants.
-Serious changes in cardiac function may occur with cardiac glycosides
-Avoid excessive Mag Sulfate administration

★Dosage and Administration
-Seizure associated with Pregnancy
Adult: 1-4 g (8-32 mEq) IV; max dose of 30-40 g/day
-Pulseless Arrest (for Hypomagnesemia or Torsades de Pointes)
Adult: 1-2 g(2-4 mL of a 50% solution) diluted in 10mL of D5W IVP
Pediatric: 25-50 mg/kg (max 2g) over 10-20 min
-Acute Myocardial Infarction/ Torsades de Pointes w pulse
Adult: 1-2 g in 50-100 mL of D5W; 5-60 mniutes IV; follow with 0.5-1 g/hr/IV

★Special Considerations
-Pregnancy Safety: Category B
-Mag Sulfate used for the treatment of toxemia during pregnancy. Stop infusion 2 hours prior to delivery, if possible.
-Convulsions may occur up to 48 hrs after delivery. The cure for toxemia is delivery.
-Use Mag Sulfate with caution in patients in renal failure.


Nerium oleander is in the milkweed family Apocynaceae. The Oleander plant has been cultivated for so long that botanists are uncertain of its origins, although Asia has been named as part of its native range. Oleander is also one of the most toxic common garden plants in cultivation today. All parts of the plant contain hazardous toxic compounds including Oleandrin, a cardiac glycoside. These compounds cause cardiac arrest and respiratory failure and make ingestion of any part of this plant potentially fatal.

Follow for more plant facts and photos!

Why does Digoxin toxicity result in increased automaticity?

Hey everyone!

Digitalis and other cardiac glycosides are known to cause an AV nodal delay.

Then why does too much Digoxin result in some arrhythmias that are due to increased automaticity?

Brady arrhythmias are explainable. But why tachy arrhythmias?

You see, cardiac glycosides reversibly inhibit the sodium-potassium-ATPase, causing an increase in intracellular sodium and a decrease in intracellular potassium. The increase in intracellular sodium prevents the sodium-calcium antiporter from expelling calcium from the myocyte, which increases intracellular calcium. The net increase in intracellular calcium augments inotropy.

Excessive intracellular calcium may cause delayed after-depolarizations, which may in turn lead to premature contractions and trigger arrhythmias. Cardiac glycosides shorten repolarization of the atria and ventricles, decreasing the refractory period of the myocardium, thereby increasing automaticity and the risk for arrhythmias.

That’s all!


Herb of the Week Lily of the Valley


Lily Convalle
Lily of the Valley
May Lily
The plant commonly called the lily of the valley is a nice-looking perennial that can reach a height of about nine inches or twenty three cm when fully grown. The morphology of the lily of the valley consists of a pair of elliptically shaped leaves, with many clusters of distinct bell shaped and white colored flowers along one side of the stem, and distinctive red berries in the fruiting season.

The bell shaped flowers of the plant are very familiar to floral enthusiasts and while they are certainly small and unspectacular, they are very sweetly perfumed and are a universally well liked flowers. The lily of the valley is a very hardy plant and it can very readily adapt to a wide range of growing conditions in the wild, the plant is quite common now in the north American country side and even though the sturdy little herb thrives is not a native it thrives on neglected waste grounds and has escaped from many gardens to become a common plant in North America.

Keep reading


Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts.

Oleander grows to 2–6 m tall, with erect stems that splay outward as they mature; first-year stems have a glaucous bloom, while mature stems have a grayish bark.
The leaves are in pairs or whorls of three, thick and leathery, dark-green, narrow lanceolate and with an entire margin. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red. They are often, but not always, sweet-scented.

Oleandrin is a toxic cardiac glycoside found in oleander.
Along with neandrin it is primarily responsible for the toxicity of the sap of oleander.

Symptoms of oleandrin poisoning can cause both gastrointestinal and cardiac effects. The gastrointestinal effects can consist of nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting, as well as higher salivation and diarrhea (which may contain blood).
After these first symptoms, the heart may be affected by tachyarrhythmia, bradyarrhythmia, premature ventricular contractions, or atrioventricular blockage. Also, xanthopsia (yellow vision), a burning sensation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, and gastrointestinal tract and respiratory paralysis can occur.
Reactions to poisonings from this plant can also affect the central nervous system. These symptoms can include drowsiness, tremors, or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death.
Oleander sap can cause skin irritations, severe eye inflammation and irritation, and allergy reactions characterized by dermatitis when administered topically.

(Just a little extract from my vet Physiology assignment. Still needs a lot of editing so there are probably some errors)

Cardiac Glycosides

To understand the act of cardiac glycosides on the heart you need to understand how the myocardial muscle contracts and relaxes. An action potential initiates contraction by opening voltage gated calcium channels on the outer membrane 14. Calcium rushes into the cell releasing the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium stores. The calcium is key in binding to protein called troponin in the muscle fibre structure to initiate contraction 14.

It is then in the relaxation of the muscle that the cardiac glycoside disrupts the normal physiological process. During normal relaxation calcium would dissociate from triponin and be taken back up into the SR and the rest would be moved out with a Na+/Ca2+ exchange transporter protein in the cell membrane 14. To keep the sodium levels down in the cell to allow this pump to work it interacts with the Na+/K+ ATPase pump which takes the excess sodium out in exchange for potassium into the cell 14.

When the cardiac glycoside binds extracellularly to the Na+/K+ pump it inhibits the pump 3,4,7. Due to this pump’s key role in the Na+ balance the inhibition also effects the Na+/Ca2+ pump causing a build up of extra Ca2+ in the cell 3. This means the next time the heart contracts there will be more Ca2+ in the cells and this will cause call depolarisation and stronger heart contraction contraction. This is why cardiac glycoside poising initially slows the heart rate but increases the hearts contraction forces 3,7.


Foxglove may be one of the most easily recognizable flowers commonly found in the garden. Scientifically known as Digitalis purpurea, foxglove is in the family Plantaginaceae and is native to most of temperate Europe, but has been naturalized in many areas around the world. While the striking variegation of the flowers is what makes foxglove so popular, it is it’s health effects that give this plant notoriety. Foxglove contains a cocktail of cardiac glycosides, most notably the compounds digitoxin and digoxin. These molecules inhibit the sodium-potassium ATPase pump found in all animal cells. This pump is responsible for many physiological processes, including regulating the electrical conductivity of nerve cells. If any part of the foxglove plant is ingested, the cardiac glycosides act to inhibit the electrical impulses that regulate our heartbeat, leading to heart palpitations, and eventually cardiac arrest. So while foxglove is a beautiful addition to the landscape, extreme caution should be taken to ensure poisoning does not occur.