A Fatal Case of Brucine Poisoning

Basavaprabhu Achappa, Deepak Madi, Y P Raghavendra Babu, Soundarya Mahalingam


In some parts of India people follow a religious ritual of drinking an herbal preparation made from the bark of Alstonia scholaris tree (Blackboard tree) on the day of new moon in the month of July. This tree could be easily confused with Strychnos nux vomica tree. Brucine is the predominant alkaloid present in the bark of the tree Strychnos nux vomica. Toxicological property of Brucine is similar to strychnine. Brucine is a neurotoxin. A 29-year-old male presented with a history of consumption of a herbal preparation made from the bark of the Strychnos nux vomica tree confusing it for Alstonia scholaris. Soon after, he developed convulsions and later he died in the hospital on the same day. The main aim of this case report is to highlight the fact that people must be cautious when they follow religious rituals.
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