The dried seed of Physostigma venenosum (family Leguminosae), a vine of western Africa; it contains the alkaloids physostigmine (eserine), eseramine, eseridine (geneserine) and physovenine; in toxic doses it causes vomiting, colic, salivation, diarrhoea, convulsions, sweating, dyspnoea, vertigo, slow pulse, and extreme prostration.

Synonyms: Calabar bean, ordeal bean.

Origin: G. Physa, bellows, + stigma, a mark, spot; so called because of the shape of the stigma

(05 Mar 2000)

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