Deadly poison of the Amazon Rainforest

Curare leaf. Amazon Rainforest
Curare Leaf. Amazon Rainforest

For millennia Amazon rainforest tribes have lived in the lush, tropical rainforest by means of hunting and gathering.

Have learnt the medicinal value of plants and animal species through their shamans and medicine men, and accumulated an empirical knowledge irreplaceable today by modern science.

Among all Amazon rainforest plants, curare (curare mixture) it's been invaluable for one of their traditional hunting techniques: blowgun hunting.

In fact, a curare-tipped dart can kill a bird in a few seconds, a man in five minutes or a capybara or tapir in less than half an hour.

Basically, curare is a fast-action poison that it doesn't actually kill, it causes paralysis instead. Death comes by asphyxia when the victim's lungs are paralyzed.

Paradoxically, it can kill as well as save lives.
After 1935, with the identification of the plant (and the main paralyzing agent), curare was introduced to modern medicine as muscle relaxant during surgery.

The curare vine Chondrodendon tomentosum - known as ampihuasca by the Yagua Indias of Loreto, Peru (ampi = poison) - is one of the key ingredients of the mixture.
Strychnos toxifera produces the strongest type of curare, in combination with other alkaloid plants.

There isn't a single formula, each Amazon tribe has its own particular blend jealously guarded by shamans and medicine men and passed over from generation to generation.
In most cases, other poisons are added to the mixture, such as killer bees, venom snakes and poison dart frogs,

According to scientists, there are three types of curare - named by Europeans after the type of containers Amazon tribes use to carry it, not because of the ingredients used in the preparation...


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