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Top 5 Most Deadly Poisons Known To Mankind : Interesting Facts about Poison

Updated on July 7, 2014

It is well known that the poisons are hazardous substances that can cause serious damage to the body, and even be fatal.

The poisons are used as a weapon to harm or kill, and history is full of these unfortunate and disastrous events, from the ancient world to the present day. Who does not remember Hitler, Socrates or the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps?

Today we see together the most famous poisons of all time.

1 Arsenic

Arsenic is a powerful poison and is certainly the best known of all. It's a mineral found in the earth's crust, as the compound is known to man since ancient times, but as a chemical element, it was isolated by J.Schroeder in 1640.

The substance commonly used as poison is the white arsenic (arsenious trioxide) also called the "dust of the heirs" . The toxic dose for humans is 10-50 mg, and the lethal dose is 60-120 mg. Arsenic leads to death by shock of the gastrointestinal system.

Arsenic is very soluble in water. The poison used more in the Renaissance, was a solution of arsenic in water. There are Chinese writings dating back to 1000 BC, which contain hundreds of recipes for the production of poisonous gases, or irritant, to be used in war and on other occasions.

It is said that Lucrezia Borgia, to poison his victims, used a hollow ring filled with a powder containing arsenic.

This deadly poison was also used to kill Rasputin. New evidence emerged lately, that the death of Napoleon was caused by arsenic poisoning

The absence of smell and taste has made ​​it a perfect tool for murder. The death comes after a long suffering, as arsenic "burns” the intestine.

2. Cyanide

There goes another poison certainly well known. We are talking about cyanide , a salt derived from 'hydrogen cyanide, a poison, no doubt, quite powerful.

At a dose of 2.6 mg, the poison is deadly. It blocks the transport of oxygen to the cells, given that cyanide binds very easily with the iron and the cell dies "choked". It causes a loss of consciousness and brutal death can occur rapidly due to cardiac arrest. In most cases, the victim of cyanide poisoning gives off a characteristic odor of bitter almonds.

The cyanide was used in the Second World War to commit suicide (it was supplied to the leading heads of the Nazi party (Famous cases of Adolf Hitler , Eva Braun and Hermann Göring ) . Even the lethal chemicals used in the gas chambers by the Nazis were produced with this powerful poison.

In the famous massacre of Jonestown , the largest mass suicide so far documented, Jim Jones, leader of the sect preacher Temple of the people, ordered his 912 followers to commit suicide using a cyanide cocktail.

Cyanide is, undoubtedly, the poison that killed more people in the world (only enough to mention the huge number of victims of the Nazis in the gas chambers).

3. Hemlock

The hemlock is a perennial plant with large leaves and tiny white flowers, can be seen only above 1800 meters above sea level. It grows in abandoned places and rocky, little-used roads in villages and blooms in June and July.

The hemlock was definitely one of the most common poisons of antiquity. The great Greek philosopher, Socrates died taking a drink made ​​of hemlock. Even Hannibal committed suicide with this poison.

The toxicity of these plants is the Coniine, an oily liquid, yellowish, dull and has an unpleasant odor. This liquid is slightly soluble in water, and very soluble in alcohol. The hemlock is a paralyzing poison and the lethal dose for humans, orally, is 750 mg. Death occurs by asphyxiation in about 3-6 hours.

4. Aconite

The aconite is a plant that grows in shady places of mountains and hilly areas and blooms in May and June. It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.

The active ingredient of the plant is the aconitine, that you can easily see in a white-yellow colored powder. Its flavor is very pungent and sour. It’s very soluble in alcohol but not very soluble in water.

It is one of the most powerful poisons that are known. The lethal dose for humans is 5 mg per kilogram of body mass index and death occurs within a few hours after violent cramps and complete loss of consciousness and no antidote is known till.

This plant is also known as the "devil's weed" because it is as beautiful as poisonous.

5. Belladonna

The Belladonna is a plant that grows on the walls and in old ruins and blooms in the summer months. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

The most toxic are the fruits (berries), which form a highly lethal poison and, given their similarity with cherries, combined with their sweet taste, have led many people to consume them.

The lethal dose for an adult is 100 mg (but it only takes about half to be lethal to a child). Belladonna acts especially on the brain and the symptoms of poisoning occur very quickly, and death occurs from paralysis usually within 24-36 hours.

In Germany it is known under the name of "cherry madness "because it was used against enemies as a method of confession.

Interesting Books about Poisons

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub about the deadliest poisons in the world. Very interesting! Voted up!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      4 years ago

      Wow that is interesting. It's frightening to know that some of the items on this list can be growing around the yard!


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