Tree of Death

Early on in the colonial wars of troops of the East India Company met with one of the oldest types of chemical weapons — poisoned arrows, spears and clubs. Mysterious poison for arrows intrigued conquerors, and in the middle of the XVII century. Dutch instructed botanist H. Rumpf reveal their secret. Thanks to Mr. Rumpf of upas, trees giving poison for arrows, began to spread the most incredible rumors. This happened because the Javanese was much more profitable to frighten Europeans than to reveal the secret of extraction of juice Anchar. Therefore, Mr. Rumpf warned that closer to the tree is extremely dangerous because it kills from a distance.

In 1783, one of the surgeons of the Dutch army Fersho confirmed that reported oro its predecessor. Fersho though he traveled to the interior of the island of Java, and declared that he saw the tree its branches like tentacles, and enough people like him human sacrifices. Fersho wrote that it gubilo all life on and around it grew, no blade of grass. He told the world in his memoirs that one Malay priest, who lives a few miles from the place where he grew up upas, in 30 went to the tree sent more than 700 criminals, sentenced to death, with instructions to collect and bring the poison tree. He guaranteed a pardon to those who return alive. Of the 700 people allegedly returned a 20. despite the fact that the priest before the campaign gave them a pair of gloves from buffalo leather and a mask of the same material with two holes for the eyes, which were inserted into the glass. To collect the poison he gave them a box of tortoise shell.

In order to get the poison Anchar, he had to go over 27 leagues from Batavia and 14 leagues from the residence of the Emperor in the valley, its a terrible waste, its air was so saturated with toxic fumes that birds flying over it, fell dead.

But all this was untrue, based only on what the local people. Scary legends of upas passed from mouth to mouth, as long as the French botanist Legden de la Tour has not told the truth about him. That was in 1805.

Upas not exude death. Beside him grow and blossom wonderful trees, vines and grass. But juice poisonous tree and reaching the skin, causing local inflammation. The poison is deadly if ingested into the blood. Nine million grams glycoside antiarina (active active ingredient juice Anchar) instantly kill a frog: her paralysis of the heart. 100 to make poisonous arrows, enough juice Anchar 90 grams.

Already in the middle of the XVIII century. poison derived from the milky sap Anchar called "Macassar" was in the collection of the British Museum in London, and in the XIX century. was investigated by its chemical composition.

Antiarin was glycoside digitalis glycoside close to digitalinu and other plant cardiac glycosides, extremely fast effect on the heart muscle. In addition to the juice antiarina Anchar are other, less studied poisons. At the end of the last century, more juice Anchar poisoned arrows for air gun "sarbakana" and those who produce the juice, it is easy to get hurt.

Oro (Antiaris toxicaria) — high, up to 40 meters, slender tree with straight trunk and naked, only at a distance of about 25 meters from the ground it grows branches, forming a dense, beautiful crown. The tree belongs to the family. Mulberry. Botany Anchar comprise several types growing in India, in the island of Sri Lanka and throughout Malaysia, up to the Philippine Islands. Lacteal juice Anchar growing in Malaya, very poisonous.

Nonpoisonous upas (A. innoxia), or "sack tree"Occurs in India. Of its bark make durable bags for household.

Ancient authors reported that used poisoned arrows of the barbarian tribes, Celts, Gauls, the Belgians. The peoples of Asia, who lived between the Black and Caspian seas, were also familiar with this weapon. Even at the beginning of this century the peoples of the Eastern Himalayas, Nepal, Burma and China used it. In these areas, growing monkshood (Aconitum ferox). The poison of this plant is used even when hunting elephants, residents of Sakhalin from the roots of A. ferox and A. japonicum prepared poison, which went to the bears. Forest every continent hidden in his thicket plants suitable for poisoning arrows. It is believed that the poison, which was used for arrows of ancient Gaul, was the juice of one of the toxic buttercups (Ranunculus tora), causing purulent inflammation. Similarly, there are poisons of plant seeds. Euphorbiaceae, applied for the arrows on the African continent. Euphorbia tirucalli — A brittle plant with thick, milky juice used in Asia to cause burns to exposed parts of the body in unwanted "guests." In South Africa, for the poison arrows used several kinds of juice plant seeds. Euphorbiaceae — E. cereiformis, E. virosa, E. arboroscens and E. dienteri, known collectively as the "kandelyabrovy milkweed" and like giant candlesticks because of the characteristic branching. These trees, which reach a height of 12 meters, grow on termite mounds across central Africa.

Residents of North Dahomey annagosy reputed experts on specific parts of Strelna poisons. Bari tribe used poison kandelyabrovyh trees. E. juice venenifera mountaineers Taba smeared jagged arrowheads, tribes living around Lake Chad, used latex plants belonging to other families, strongly influenced the heart.

Suriname has been used plant with acrid juice Arum venenatum (arum poisonous) In Peninsular Malaysia — Other plant of the family. Araceae (perhaps, Dieffenobachia segume syn. Caladium seguinum).

In a museum in Berlin 90 years lay poisoned arrows Bushmen of South Africa. The main part of this poison was juice bulbs Hamaemanthus toxicarius, there went in snake venom and juice of some Euphorbiaceae trees. Bushmen applied to poison arrows tipped with bone, equipped with a feather tip for pulling out of the wound. Poison first cause dizziness, agitation and then acted on the spinal cord and medulla oblongata: victims die from suffocation and spasms. After 90 years, these arrows, tested on animals, worked flawlessly.

Crinum bulbs Asian Studies (Hamaemanthus toxicarius) led to the discovery gemantina alkaloid, has the same effect.

German toxicologist Levin in his book "Poisons in history" (Berlin, 1920) mentions a number of plants from which the Strelna poisons strong action: Derris trifoliata — trifoliate derris of the family. Legumes, Excoecaria agallocha and his cousin — E. sebifera, Chinese tallow tree (seed oil is used to make soap, candles, paint and varnishes), Colocasia indica, Derris eliptica, Rabelaisia philippensis. Some of them have been investigated, others — no. Of particular interest are those Strelna poisons that have been used in medicine as a valuable, sometimes irreplaceable drugs.

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